Northforker Mom: We found two NoFo hidden gems last weekend

Brian and Evan show off some of their eggs at Peconic River herb Farm in Calverton. (Credit: laura Huber)

Brian and Evan show off some of their eggs at Peconic River herb Farm in Calverton. (Credit: Laura Huber)

Parents: Have you ever found an event or a place that’s so cool that you almost don’t want to tell people about it for fear it might become popular?

The Hubers found two of those things last weekend.

When one of my coworkers told me Peconic River Herb Farm in Calverton was hosting an egg hunt, I was immediately excited. Brian and Evan love egg hunts and we were all hooked on the farm after our first visit last year. Knowing that the kids would be running around and searching grounds and greenhouses was a welcome relief after a long and snowy winter.

When we got to the farm, there were very few families waiting. Most of the kids were younger than my guys, so I gave them the same rule I have for every egg hunt they participate in: “Watch out for the kids that are smaller than you.” The egg hunt was slated to start at 11 a.m., and by 11:15, there were only about 10 families waiting. Once it started, kids found eggs in plants, trees, outdoor statues and greenhouses. There were no big prizes, just little eggs filled with candy.

By noon, there were only about 20 families participating. It was the quietest and most relaxed egg hunt I’ve ever been to (if there is such a thing …).

Peconic River Herb Farm also has a shop that sells everything from decorated cigar boxes to vintage records. My oldest, Brian, had the best find: A metal John Deere toy tractor, complete with plow. He was as proud of this as he was of all of the eggs he and Evan found.

Our next find was Inlet Pond County Park in Greenport. I had never heard of the park until I started editing the calendar for The Suffolk Times and Riverhead News-Review. The North Fork Audubon Society frequently meets there and after learning about their events, I had to check it out with the kids.

You know a North Fork place is a great find when you have to use Google Maps to find it. Though the park is right off County Road 48 in Greenport, it’s very easy to drive by. I know because I have done so hundreds of times and never noticed it. Once we got there, we checked the trail map to figure out which path we were going to take. Although I couldn’t find a mile guide anywhere, I guessed we were in for about a 2.5 mile walk. Brian and Evan are used to long nature preserve walks, so I knew we were up for the challenge.

From the moment you walk in the park, you can hear many different birds chirping. Spring’s arrival was a little late this year, so there wasn’t too much greenery yet, but the trails are fun, well-kept and well-marked. Brian loves ponds, and couldn’t wait to get to Inlet Pond. He was our leader with Evan following right behind.

When we made it to the pond, there was only one swan swimming around. Brian immediately looked to see if he could see any fish or turtles.

He and Evan loved getting close enough to the water to ruin their shoes without falling in.

We saw a sign that read “beach,” and knew we had to keep going and check it out. Inlet Pond was formed as an inlet to Long Island Sound, and on the other side is a beautiful beach.

On the walk back, we followed the “bluff” sign for great views of the Sound. Brian didn’t know what a bluff was, and was amazed while he climbed one for the first time.  We also saw a wooden wall, designed for bird-watching and everyone took a look through the different slots. And Brian got to see the first swallowtail butterfly of the season, a sure sign that warmer weather is on its way.

Every parent knows they’ve had a good family weekend when their kids are too tired to walk straight. Brian and Evan were exhausted, but had two new favorite hidden gems that we will definitely visit again. And now you can share them with your family and friends. Just not too many of them.

Laura Huber

2 Comment

  • You definitely have to go back when the frogs return, Laura. We love listening to their boisterous “conversations,” and it’s so fun to spot them – both in Inlet Pond and in the small pond by the Audubon building. Following the trail at the County Park in Orient (directly across from Cross Sound Ferry) is another favorite adventure. A meadow path brings you to Long Island Sound – no bluff to navigate, just easy access to the beach and spectacular views.

  • Thanks, Yvonne! That’s a great idea for visiting the county park in Orient.